Summary: This is the opening message in a series that focuses on knowing and understanding the truths of basic Christian doctrine. It lays a biblical foundation for seeking God’s truth. Future messages will deal with specific doctrines. (04-18-04)

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Truth Detectors [Episode 1]

Message 1

“Why You Need to Know the Truth”

Ephesians 4:11-16

Opening Illustration

There was once a certain woman who was preparing to have company for dinner. She went to a small grocery store to buy food and supplies. She stopped at the meat counter and asked the attendant for a large chicken. He reached down in the cold storage compartment, grabbed the last chicken he had, and placed it on the scale. He said, “This is a nice big one! It weighs four pounds!

The lady said, “I’m not sure that’s big enough. Don’t you have a bigger one.”

Well, he put the chicken back in the compartment, pretended to search through the melting ice for another one, then brought out the same bird and put it on the scale… but this time he added a little finger pressure. Then he smiled and said, “Ah! This one is 4 ½ pounds!”

The lady frowned and thought … then she said, “I’m not sure. Tell you what … just wrap them both up for me!”

Michael Hodgin, 1001 Humorous Illustrations for Public Speaking, p. 106.


Busted! I don’t think that young man had a very pleasant time trying to explain that one … do you?

You know … lying is such a common, accepted part of our culture. I read some statistics this week. A USA Today poll showed that only 56% of American parents teach honesty to their children! Recently a noted physician appeared on a network news-and-talk show and proclaimed, "Lying is an important part of social life, and children who are unable to do it are children who may have developmental problems." sermon Illustrations, “Lie.” Daily Bread, September 23, 1991.

No wonder we have such a time in our justice system trying to figure out who is telling the truth and who is telling a lie. They have even had to develop machines to see who is telling the truth. These lie detectors … polygraphs … are a valuable tool in law enforcement and investigation. They’re not perfect, but they help point investigators in the direction of the truth.


Wouldn’t it be great if, in matters of faith, the Bible, and the church, if we had “truth detectors?” Wouldn’t it be awesome as we heard something or read something if we could just plug in to a truth detector and know if the information was biblical and true? It would save us so much trouble! It would keep God’s people from chasing theological rabbits and buying into outright lies.

Friends, truth is a precious commodity in the church. And, sadly, so many people who claim to speak with a voice of authority are, instead, filling up the heads of God’s people with lies. Think about the things that you see and hear on TV … or the things that you read in books. If the media were your only source of information, you would be convinced that:

• You can receive blessings from God by sending money to a man on TV.

• If you will just have enough faith, you will be rich beyond your wildest dreams and you will never be sick.

• People don’t really need Jesus for a life change … Jesus is only one of many ways to God.

• All beliefs are equal … you are a narrow-minded bigot if you live by the Bible and consider its words as truth.

The tragedy is, friends, that so many good Christian folk are buying into these lies … and many more. They are caught up in false systems of belief, false truth, and false teachers.

So, how are we supposed to tell the difference? Where are God’s “truth detectors?” Let me show you. Hold up your hand. Point with your finger. Now, point your finger like this (at self). People, you are the “truth detectors!” This is God’s plan … this is God’s design. Jesus said in John 8:32, “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Free from sin, free from false beliefs, free from false teachers, free from the lies of the world.

So, how do we become “Truth Detectors?” We have to learn and know the truths and the Word of God. This week we are beginning a seven week series that I am calling Truth Detectors [Episode 1]. It is the first of several series that we are going to share over the next few years as we systematically study and learn the basic doctrines of the Christian faith. That’s what we have to do if we are going to remain solid and strong in the truth of God.

As we begin, we’re going to start with “Why You Need to Know the Truth.” We are going to lay a biblical foundation for the learning that we’re going to do over the coming weeks.

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